St. John Health Center
"I think the trend is to branch out in what we use dressing for—dressings are an easy way to impart beautiful favorings without much work. They also can add color and moisture to certain foods.
"In our main cafeteria, we have probably twenty different kinds of dressings on the salad bar—when you have 1800 transactions at lunch, and you're trying to respond to everyone's likes and dislikes, its no surprise we have that many. Of all those dressings we use in the front of the house, the vinaigrettes are the most versatile in the back of the house.
"We use different vinaigrettes to marinate vegetables. It imparts a wonderful favor and it helps the vegetables brown better.
"My favorite is our feta vinaigrette. It's a pretty classic French vinaigrette—oil and vinegar, herbs and feta. We use it on salads and we've marinated pork tenderloins in it. You have to be careful with acid based dressings though. They will essentially cook what you put in them, so don't leave meats in the marinades for too long."
"There's a renewed interest in vinaigrettes— everything from citrus to roasted tomato, on everything from scallops to greens.
"One of our more unique dressings uses beet juice. We combine it with orange juice and vinegar, salt and pepper and a little olive oil. It has a certain sweetness with a beautiful deep purple/red color.
"We make a citrus vinaigrette with orange juice, a little Dijon mustard, white balsamic vinegar and herbs. It's great on an arugula salad with beets, goat cheese, pecans and dried cranberries. We also do a roasted tomato and basil (see recipe below), and our Caesar is delicious. We use yogurt instead of mayonnaise; it lightens up the salad, which our customers love. However, the yogurt changes the taste a little by making it a hint tangier.
"Our most popular is the Asian dressing (see recipe below). It's low fat and it goes with everything from seafood to salad."
Director of Nutrition Services
Highline Public Schools
"As part of our ethnic trends program, on our South Pacific menu, we marinaded a pretty simple teriyaki dressing with chicken and served it with pineapples, calling it Hawaiian Luau Chicken. The kids loved it.